Facebook Tips & Best Practices
Managers of Facebook pages at WesternU should be able to check on the page at least once a day and should have enough content to post at least once a week.
Differences between profiles, pages and groups
- Pages are designed for businesses and brands to connect with their customers and communities and need to be created by a personal profile. Pages have admins who post the vast majority of content to the page.
- Groups are designed for more personal interaction around a common interest and usually contain more dialogue among the members. Although there are admins, many group members post content and initiate conversations. New incoming classes often set up a group to meet and chat with their future classmates.
- Profiles are individuals’ personal Facebook accounts. Do not set up a personal Facebook account to represent a group or organization; it is against Facebook’s terms of service.
Setting up your page
- Category: Choose “Companies & Organizations → Education”
- Name: Your page name should include “Western University of Health Sciences” or “WesternU”. Pages are external-facing channels so you want the name to be something easy for search engines to find. Think of what people might search for to find information about your department or organization.
- Username: The username you choose will become your page’s Facebook URL and it should uniquely describe your page. Remember, once you create your URL, it cannot be changed. You can set up your username at http://www.facebook.com/username/. Make sure you are setting your page username and not the username for your personal account.
- About: Briefly describe your department or organization and how it is unique at WesternU.
Profile picture and cover photo
Your profile picture needs to be at least 180×180 pixels. You can upload a larger photo so that when users click on the small picture, a larger version will open.
Cover photos are 820 pixels wide and 312 pixels tall. If you upload an image that is smaller than these dimensions, it will get stretched to this larger size, making it blurry and pixelated. The image you upload must be at least 399 pixels wide and 150 pixels tall. For best results, upload an 820×312 pixel photo.
Be sure the photos you select do not violate copyright rules.
For profile pictures, choose an image that is unique to your department or area and that represents what makes you unique at WesternU. Colleges with hybrid logos may want to use that logo.
Posting on your Facebook page
- Post photos – photos are the most widely viewed content on Facebook. (Photos posted online should be your property, in the public domain, have a Creative Commons license, or fall under fair use. For all other instances, you should seek permission from the copyright holder.)
- Share content and news (events, news stories, blog posts, pages from your site profiling programs or individuals)
- Post videos. (Videos uploaded to Facebook should be your property, in the public domain, have a Creative Commons license, or fall under fair use. For all other instances, you should seek permission from the copyright holder.)
- Post links to related organizations or information (Tip: once you’ve pasted the link onto Facebook, a box will appear containing the link and a picture, if available. You can then delete the link you pasted, since it is now clickable in the box. Deleting the original link makes for a cleaner post that is more appealing to users.)
- Ask questions and solicit feedback
- Engage with your audience by answering questions, liking comments, etc.
Facebook uses an algorithm to determine what posts users will see in their news feeds. Posts that their friends have liked, commented on or shared and posts from pages they have interacted with in the past are more likely to appear. Choose content that will interest and engage those who like your page and they will be more likely to interact with the content.
Posts that are especially visually interesting (mostly photos and videos) can be highlighted on the timeline.
The Timeline format is a great way to tell the story of your organization or department. You can include when you were founded and other important milestones and be sure to include photos. Milestones give the complete background for your group and can be a fun way for users to get to know you.
Managing posts on your wall
People may post to your page’s wall. These posts will usually appear in a box on the left-hand side titled, “Posts to Page.” Check your Facebook page regularly (at least once a day) to respond to messages and questions or remove inappropriate postings (e.g., ads, commercial postings, spammers, offensive or inappropriate content). Clicking the ellipses “…” at the top right of a post brings up a drop-down menu, where you can choose to delete, edit, and more options.
You may want to add a disclaimer to the page’s “About” section that informs users of how and when comments will be deleted: “Third-party posts on this wall do not imply endorsement of that content by WesternU. User-provided content is not screened or evaluated during the submission process. We reserve the right to remove content that is spam, commercial, harassing, obscene and/or derogatory.”
People may post reasonable criticism (e.g., “Last night’s event was too crowded and the music was too loud!” or “I am annoyed that I didn’t get into your program”). To build credibility and authenticity, it is usually best to allow these comments to stand and respond, allowing other users to see the exchange. Other people’s posts to your page’s wall do not show up in your fans’ update streams.
Twitter Tips & Best Practices
Twitter allows groups and individuals to stay connected through the exchange of short status messages (140 character limit). Twitter encourages frequent updates, engagement and “retweeting” content and account managers should tweet daily and be able to respond with some immediacy and engage in conversation.
Setting up your account:
- Profile Picture: Recommended dimensions for profile photos are 400×400 pixels. Be sure the images is your property, in the public domain, has a Creative Commons license, or falls under fair use.
- Header Photo: Recommended dimensions for header photos are 1500×500 pixels. Be sure the image is your property, in the public domain, has a Creative Commons license, or falls under fair use.
- Theme: Twitter provides some default themes and allows a great degree of color customization for profile pages. You can also upload a custom background, but make sure the image is public domain or you have rights to the image prior to using it.
- Name: The limit is 20 characters and most accounts should include the university name along with the department, school or organization name (e.g. WesternU Vet).
- Username/Twitter Handle: The limit is 15 characters and it should align with your name if possible. Even if you are publicizing the identity behind the Twitter account you should consider keeping a non-personal name in case of staff turnover, change of roles/focus, etc.
- Bio: Be sure to include the full name and description of your department or organization in the Bio field.
Who to follow?
You can’t control who follows you (unless you block them, which should only be done in the case of obvious spam accounts), but you can control who you follow.
- You’ll want to follow the main WesternU handle and other official WesternU accounts. You can follow one or a few of these lists to see what other people and departments are tweeting. It is good practice to follow other WesternU handles and occasionally retweet relevant information.
- As you gain followers, it is good practice to “follow back,” in order to build relationships and community. However, as in all aspects of your social media usage, use your judgment. If you are followed by accounts that look like spam, have no bio or profile photo, do not tweet regularly, or tweet inappropriate or irrelevant material, you should not follow them back. If spammers follow you, you can block them. If you receive a direct message or a tweet with suspicious content, do not click on the link – spammers often use links to get people to click on sites that include inappropriate or malicious content.
- You can search Twitter users and lists to see others who may tweet about things that are relevant to your office or department or subjects related to your field. You may want to follow similar departments at other universities, leaders in your industry, faculty in your department, etc.
- You can search specific hashtags to find users who are tweeting about topics that are also of interest to your department or group.
- Clients: Many people prefer to use a client like TweetDeck to manage their Twitter accounts, rather than just using the Twitter website. Clients like these allow you to schedule future tweets, keep lists open, track search terms, be alerted to mentions, etc. Try different clients to see which fit your needs best.
- Links: You will likely often tweet links to blog posts, industry articles, events and more. Since Twitter is a 140-character format, links can take up a lot of real estate. Twitter and most clients now automatically shorten URLs for you, but you may want to use a link shortening service, such as bit.ly, to conserve space and track links (it will generate a link such as bit.ly/abc123).
- Retweeting: Retweeting, or RT, is a primary way of sharing content on Twitter. Use judgment in what you retweet, as you are sharing content on behalf of the university.
- Hashtags: Hashtags, #, are used to call out certain words or phrases. Adding a # in front of a word or phrase makes it clickable and will return every tweet that has used that hashtag. Before using a hashtag, search it to make sure it is not already claimed for something that is perhaps not how you intend to categorize your tweet. We often hashtag WesternU (#WesternU), but there are many other hashtags on Twitter and you may want to include them to contribute to other conversations.
- Cross-posting: If you have both a Facebook and Twitter account, simultaneously and automatically sharing on both platforms is not recommended. Twitter and Facebook are very different platforms with different languages, frequency of posts, and goals for your departments and each should have their own content. Occasionally you may want to post the same information to both places, but the message should be slightly different for each. For instance, you may want to use a hashtag in the tweet, but not on Facebook since hashtags are not used on Facebook.
- Photos: Everyone loves photos. You can use twitpic, yfrog, or other services to upload photos from your desktop and most clients and phone apps have built in photo options. Instagram photos can easily be tweeted from the Instagram app. Photos posted online should be your property, in the public domain, have a Creative Commons license, or fall under fair use.
- Direct Messages: Sometimes you may prefer to take a conversation off of the public twitterverse and have a private conversation. For example, if someone is asking very specific questions or has a complaint. You can only send someone a direct message (DM) if that person is following you and you can only receive DMs from people you are following.
Remember, unless you have explicitly protected your account (which is not recommended), all of your updates are public and findable, so, as we like to say: think twice, post once.
MT: MT means “modified tweet.” If you are retweeting someone but you’ve changed some of the content of their tweet, instead of using RT you can use MT to signify the tweet is not exactly the same.
HT: HT or H/T means “heard through.” If you are not retweeting something from Twitter, but would like to attribute the source where you saw the information, you can mention the handle after HT.
Via: If you learned of something via someone else or if an article you are tweeting is from a news source, you can attribute that by using via.
CC: Just like emails and memos, cc means “carbon copy.” If you want someone specifically to see your tweet, you can cc them.
Dots: Beginning a tweet with a handle means that only those who follow both you and that handle will see that tweet. For this reason, you will often see a dot before a handle’s name if that handle is at the beginning of the tweet.